'93 3.8L Cougar - again -this time loud rattle under car

Any who reads here regularly know I recently had a head gasket failure on this car. During repair no damage was found other than the actual gasket
failure - heads were checked, valve job performed, reassembled with fresh coolant, oil, and filter. Recently a rattling has started from under the car at certain engine speeds. It is getting louder. It sounds like the catalytic converter shields rattling but they are tight. I just wrapped them with wire to double check. I can make the rattle by banging the exhaust with a rubber mallet.
So, whaddya think, did the coolant leak fry the converters? HEGO sensors were not replaced and there are no codes. The car runs wonderfully and has plenty of zoom. I can listen to the engine with a shade-tree stethoscope (long screwdriver with wood end in my ear) and hear a smooth engine. The exhaust manifolds do let me hear some of the rattle but it's far worse outside and under the car.
Finally, anyone got a guess about what I should pay for this repair, if indeed my diagnosis is right? Any guidance as to urgency of repair (I haven't fully paid off the head gasket repair, yet.)
Thanks!
PoD
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Paul of Dayon wrote:

Sorry Paul, if the shields are tight then the noise is probably the converter element rattling around. The element is starting to break apart. This seems to happen semi often on Ford products. It should be ok for a while although I have seen a couple of cases where the element disintegrated and plugged up the muffler. Massive failure seems to be uncommon. I don't think the repair is urgent, just do it as soon as you can afford it.
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Paul of Dayon wrote: Recently a rattling has started from under the

I have an '88 Cougar that I bought new. At 10K miles the converters went out and at 55K the converters went out again. I was going to just let them rattle (because warranty ran out, I think) when I got a recall notice in the mail to have them repaired. They've been okay ever since, but they sounded just like yours. They rattled. Anyway, that's probably the problem on your car.
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Thanks Tom & Kruse. I kinda figured it was the innards of the converters. I am not looking forward to the expense but it is still a wonderfully fun car. I plan to ask around several places for estimates. We seem to have a lot of muffler and exhaust shops here in Dayton. I might even look for a 'performance' exhaust. I am glad to hear that I probably have some time.
I love this newsgroup - between us there is an unbelievable amount of experience and info here.
Have a great holiday, everyone.!!
PoD

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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 02:08:44 GMT, "Paul of Dayton"

It's true: there is a great deal of expertise on this ng, and it is often very well applied.
It may be highly probable that your problem is in the converter. Still, I wouldn't plan/budget anything before a thorough inspection of the undercarriage, particularly straps/hangers (if any) and pipes/mufflers. The usual "process of elimination".

Yourself as well.
Cheers, Puddin'

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I have a 94 Taurus with a nearly new Cat Converter sitting outside my window here in detroit, MI. The heads finally went fot the 4th time and after over $2000 worth of new parts (not including the labor at my $60 per hour mechanic) I had to trash the car. Plenty of items on this 3.8 liter engine . . . . . Not sure where you are located but I am sure that if I or you can get them off, any compesation would be fair. Tim/ Yak, Detroit, MI
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Thanks! I'll keep you in mind. I don't know about fit but I'll research it. Is that engine transverse mounted?
PoD

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Yes, this is one of the best newsgroups. Not TOO many trolls.
If you mean what I think you do by "performance" ( a pipe ) just be aware that if you are in an area where they do emission testing, they do stick a mirror under sometimes and check that the cat is there.
Then again, around here in Wisconsin they have gone to just checking the computer for codes and the gas cap for seal. If that's good you pass.
Not that I would recommend or condone doing anything illegal...
Another Tom
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No - I mean a legal system - just not factory original. Many shops around here call themselves 'dual exhaust specialists' or something similar.
I have done some digging and, from looking at the Ford shop manual, it looks like the factory original system has a joint right after the resonator. I haven't looked under yet but I think that would make this a job I can do myself. "Bolt-in" converters include the resonator and can be had for about $300. I may do it myself. I need to crawl back under and look around some more.
The rattle sometimes sounds like half the exhaust is dragging on the ground. Of course, other times it is silent.
Thanks!
PoD
wrote:

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Kruse wrote:

Paul, this response brings up a possibility. Check and see if there happens to be an open recall on your converters. There have been a few over the years and it doesn't hurt to ask.
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Thanks Tom. She's quite old but, you're right, it never hurts to ask...
PoD

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